You may be aware that J. K. Rowling is in some hot water with the left side of western culture. Over a month ago she made an effort to reclaim the term “women” to refer to biological women, excluding transgender men who have adopted the persona of a women.
Likely that very explanation comes across as “offensive” to the transgender community. But it is what it is. Rowling thinks “men” in the guise of transgender women are hijacking the feminist cause.
After her initial tweet that started the kerfuffle, she doubled down by writing an essay to explain her thinking.
Included in her cogent article, Rowling mentions that she has “deep concerns about the effect the trans rights movement is having” on her charitable foundations directed toward children and women.
She also mentions that she’s concerned about what’s happening to free speech.
There’s a lot more, but needless to say, she’s received quite the backlash. The leftist side of the culture quickly came to the “defense” of the transgender community, as if Rowling had attacked them. She did not. More than once she made it clear that her concerns were not meant to deny the experiences of individuals.
Of course, she doesn’t include God in her thoughts or reasons for her position. Just the things she learned from doing some research.
So in many ways, Rowling’s essay is filled with facts, data, personal experience, and a logical approach consistent with her staunch feminist beliefs.
But the backlash.
I guess she’s received a lot of supportive mail, but also much that is hateful, via Twitter and other sources. The stars of the Harry Potter movie series spoke out to support the transgender community. Many have burned her books.
Most recently she signed a letter that spoke against the “cancel culture” thought that seems to stand against free speech. Some 150 other writers and thinkers signed the letter also, but some are now backtracking and apologizing because they didn’t know who all else would be signing. I don’t know if they had Rowling specifically in mind or not.
Even Stephen King has come out against what Rowling said. The media monitoring organization slanted toward LGBTQ issues said Rowling “has now aligned herself with an anti-science ideology . . .”
A friend of mine recently said, The left eat their own, meaning that those in their camp who don’t go far enough to the extreme are painted as enemies. Of course, the right does the same thing, but in this case, Rowling, who is an extreme feminist, sympathetic to transgender issues, is “the enemy” because she has thought out her position and holds consistently to feminist values.
The sad and disappointing thing about this mess is that it will now be harder for Rowling to publish her books and to get movie deals to turn her stories into great films. Maybe.
Thinking back to the beginning of the Harry Potter series, I realize those books were steeped in controversy. But the kickback came from people identifying as Christians. Not much clout in the publishing industry or in the film industry or in media in general. In some ways the stand against books about a boy wizard increased their visibility and their sales.
Will that happen now? Or, more likely, I’m afraid, will the publishing industry and all that’s tied to it take a step back from Rowling and her stories?
Up to this point, I’ve loved her stories. They are fun and interesting and rich in detail and imagination. And they include some thought-provoking content. They are not perfect, but I would be very, very sad if Rowling “gets cancelled.”
Of course, if that does happen, it would prove her point about freedom of speech.